International Summer School in Refugee Law and Rights

About the school

This is the 6th International Summer School in Refugee Law and Rights founded 2012 in Sarajevo, by late OBE Prof. Emerita Barbara Harrell-Bond from the University of Oxford and Dr. Selma Porobić, from Humanitarian Studies of Sts. Cyril and Methodius Faculty of Theology in Olomouc. It is modelled according to international summer schools initiated by late Harrell-Bond in 1980s as pioneering academic refugee law training for the humanitarians.  

The school brings together leading academics and practitioners focusing both theoretical and practical aspects of the legal refugee protection, with an aim to proactively contribute to its advancement through their future carriers in academia, UN, governmental and nongovernmental organizations, media and other sectors of work. Principal aim is to advance the skills for protecting and to help exchange and build expert and cooperation networks in responding to the current challenges of access to international refugee protection in Europe and beyond.  


  • When: August, 19th – August, 28th, 2019
  • Registration deadline: May 31st
  • Credits: 12 ECTS
  • Early bird price: EUR 250 (prior May 15th)
  • Late registration price: EUR 350 (after May 15th)
  • Organiser: Dr. Selma Porobić,  Humanitarian Studies Section


The school is open to students and professionals from all academic disciplines and backgrounds. Our participants typically include staff from main refugee and humanitarian international organizations, regional and local refugee, human rights and humanitarian NGOs, government officials working on refugee protection, scholars and researchers working directly on forced migration issues as well as practicing lawyers, advocates, journalists and activists working on refugee protection and the human rights of forced migrants. 

Learning environment

The Summer School employs an interactive learning environment using combination of lectures, documentary films, debates and open discussions, enabling participants to both contribute to and gain an in-depth knowledge of asylum adjudication procedures. Instructors at the school are experienced and committed lawyers, scholars, practitioners and activists in the field that will bring a comparative and locally focused perspective to the international protection debate.

Contents and training

This year’s school will once again offer both general training in refugee law and a specific case-study analysis of the access to asylum and application of asylum rights across the European Union. The training offered on this school focuses on the legal procedures for assisting refugee asylum claims, including practices of taking testimonies, finding Country of Origin Information and documenting families. This year, the school will also include a comprehensive training on the humanitarian principles and standards in refugee emergency response, stressing refugee health provisions in particular, and the psychosocial wellbeing of the humanitarians.


The training programme this year will cover the following modules:

I - General part (Day 1-4)

  • Assessment of 1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol
  • The Relevance of International Human Rights Law to Flight from Persecution
  • UNHCR Guidelines on International Protection: “Membership of a particular social group” within the context of Article 1A (2).
  • Convention on the Rights of the Child: Unaccompanied Minor/Separated Children
  • UNHCR Guidance Note on Refugee Claims Relating to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
  • The ethics of Refugee Law
  • Psycho-Social Issues: Medical Evidence in Asylum and Human Rights Appeals
  • Use of Country of origin Information Assessment
  • Credibility Assessment in Asylum Procedures 

II - Regional focus part / Europe (Day 4-7)

  • Legal Framework for EU Migration and Asylum Policy
  • Dublin and Schengen Regulations
  • EU Refugee Responses and the Changing Paradigm of EU Law
  • Role of EU Courts and the European Union in Changing the Asylum Law
  • Irregular migrants, Return Directive and ECtHR Jurisprudence on Collective Expulsions

III – Humanitarian emergency response (Day 8-9)

  • Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Humanitarian Response
  • UNHCR Emergency Handbook: Preparedness, Protection, Aid Delivery and Coordination
  • Health in Emergencies: Refugees‘  Primary Health Care and Protection Needs
  • Psychosocial Wellbeing of the Humanitarians

Special Evening events:

The official programme is supported with 5 thematic evening events including film screenings and joint discussions, as well as the Olomouc Welcome City Tour. There is one-day break in the programme with an optional excursion to Prague.


  • Marko Szilveszter Macskovich, PhD, Identity Management Officer, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Denmark
  • Selma Porobić, PhD, Assistant Professor in International Humanitarian and Social Work, CMTF, Palacký University Olomouc
  • Simon Rusell, MLL., Judge of the First-tier Tribunal, London, Member of the Torture Claims Appeal Board, Hong Kong
  • Madalina Moraru, PhD, Senior Research Fellow Law Faculty, Masaryk University Brno and the Centre for Judicial Cooperation of the EUI, Florence
  • Dimitar Anakiev, MD, GP and Global Health Specialist, Medical Coordinator S.O.S. Bosnian Frontier and the President of Doctors for Asylees, Slovenia
  • Eva Zorkova, PhD Candidate, Law Faculty Palacky University Olomouc and Lawyer, Organization for Aid to Refugees (OPU), Czech Republic
  • Other guest lecturers Global Protection Cluster, UNHCR, Geneva/TBC

How to apply

We invite you to register by sending the completed Application form together with the Motivation letter, CV, the signed Terms and Conditions Form, and a Copy of your Passport to  and  before the 31st of May, 2019. 


Admission fee

  • Early registration prior May 15th 250 EUR
  • Late registration after May 15th 350 EUR. 

Payment instructions are found in the Terms and Conditions Form below. Admission fee covers the full school program with materials, supervision, tutoring, lunches during the 10-days long in-door training and outdoor activities.

Part of our policy is to support the refugee organizations in both staff capacity building and enabling them the establishment of a wider support and cooperation network for the greater benefit of serving refugees. For this reason, we can offer a school fee discount to participants from the organizations working directly with refugees.

Evaluation and awards

Evaluation consists of the in-class discussion and assignments with a practical simulation exercise, based on instructions received on the first day of the school and a guided group preparation. Upon successful completion of the school the participants are awarded with 12 ECTS points and the Graduate Participant Diploma from the Palacký University Olomouc.

Previous schools

2018 Report of Summer School (PDF)

You can also take a look at previous schools’ documentation and picture archives here.


Admission fee does not include accommodation. Participants have the possibility to use the Palacký University Olomouc dormitories. Reservation of rooms for summer school participants was made at Bedřich Václavek Dormitory. For booking accommodation see here.

Visas and travel

For more information on visas and travel visit Visa & Travel page.

For details concerning visas and border-crossing conditions, please contact the embassy in your country, as these conditions vary around the world.

About Olomouc

Olomouc is a beautiful university city with rich history that is definitely worth seeing.

Click here to read more about it.

Click here to take a virtual walk through Olomouc!

Frequently asked questions

Is it advisable to have some background knowledge in international law?

Understanding of human rights, background in social sciences and any experience of work with asylum seekers and refugees or research on asylum and migration issues is advisable.

Will the summer course primarily deal with law in the specific countries of the EU?

The focus of the summer school is on the Refugee Convention and the international refugee protection and law. However, the specific focus is also given to the application of the refugee law and asylum seekers rights in the EU as regional focus.

Is the school programme primarily focused on the law and legal protection issues or also on the consequences/social dimensions and practices of law?

The application of the law itself in practice is strongly connected with the social dimension and consequences that those practices imply. Understanding asylum policies and applied practices involves also political, economic, cultural and psycho-social context of forced migrants. To learn more from the previous schools and participants’ experiences have a look at the concluding reports and comments on the following links:



What will be the admission criteria? Are they stringent?

Admission criteria involve the Motivation Letter acknowledging the experience and interests in the forced migration field and your CV. There is a registration quota of 30 students, which we consider an ideal number of participants for the interactive learning at the school. Generally, we look for the diversity in participants’ educational and experience/practice backgrounds in order to have constructive and productive exchange between the participants during and after the school.


Is it correct that you get 12 ECTS for this school and a Certificate of Participation?

Participation in the school brings you 12 ECTS points and details of assessment will be introduced at the first day of the school when all the tutors will be assigned to the each group. We focus on the team work and presentations throughout the school as well as group discussions as a proof of acquired knowledge and engagement on the school.  


Is there any accommodation during the school?

Admission fee does not include accommodation. Participants have the possibility to use the Palacký University Olomouc dormitories. Reservation of rooms for summer school participants will be made at Generála Svobody Dormitory. For booking accommodation please visit  the UP dormitories website.

If I apply, how long does it approximately take to know if I can participate?

We will respond to your application within two weeks from submission.

Do you already know the deadline for applying?

The registration is now open and will continue until the 31st of May. There is an Early Bird Registration until May 15th.



Student comments 2018 & references

Guillermo Beccaría (international relations student, Belgium)

What I experienced in Olomouc during the 10 days of the ISS was just UNBELIEVABLE. I have no words to describe it. I was expecting to learn about refugees and the laws that protect them, but instead I learned about life and its meaning. I understood the significance of the “being pasionate” in a lot of aspects, and how to be it too! You have to feel it! I guess that passion of the lectures of the ISS was undoubtedly inherited from the profesor Barbara Harell-Bond. I will always be gratefull for getting that feeling too, even if it was for that small amount of time.

Ana Kozina (law student, Croatia)

I came to school with just basic knowledge of the subject, and that was mostly from the EU perspective. In 10 intensive days, I learned so much from interesting, knowledgeable lecturers with expertise and experience, who, above everything, were passionate about transferring us knowledge and skills that one day we may be the ones who can use it in our respective fields of work to be of help to those who need it. Diversity of participants, who were of law, social work, anthropological or international political background, equally students and practitioners, ensured variety of ideas, views and possible solutions to a problem to be heard. One day simulation of a refugee crisis was for all of us interesting, challenging and inspiring experience. All the members of the organizational board and volunteers were open to any of our questions, helpful and friendly. I am sure that from all my comments you can guess that I wholeheartedly recommend ISS to any future participant!

Ketevan Svanadze (sociology student, Georgia) 

Thank you for the amazing ten days! I have benefited and learned so much, I feel that I have a much better understanding of refugee law and this school has influenced my views and opinions about this topic. Many interests and ideas for future studies have been provoked in my mind during the summer school! Thank you very much! 

Anusha Ravishankar (law student, India)

I can't thank you and Marko enough for being absolutely wonderful influences on me. Prof. Lang had a great structure to her lectures. The courses that followed her lecture complimented the areas she covered. Well, it was like milk and honey. I believe that you guys will continue to inspire more and more students along the way.  

 School PR